Some of us often shy away from strongly affirming or recognizing our racial identity because we believe that it makes people of other races uncomfortable. Some of us also believe that racial identity is a thing of the past and that it leads to division and would like to be identified simply as human beings. However, a new study led by psychology researchers at Michigan State University found that Black people with stronger racial identities are generally happier. The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and currently appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.
According to the lead researcher, Stevie C.Y. Yap, “this is the first empirical study we know of, that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness.” He also noted that previous studies has found a relationship between racial identity and favourable outcomes such as self-esteem, however, none have linked it to happiness, until now.
The study suggests that the connection between the two is fueled by a sense of belonging. Blacks, particularly Black women, who felt a connectedness to their racial group, were generally happier. Researchers surveyed Black adults in Michigan and suggests that the more the participants identified with being black – or the more being black was an important part of who they are – the more happy they were with life as a whole.
How important is affirming and expressing your racial identity to you?
Is it possible for a person to strongly identify with their racial identity without looking or sounding like a bitter individual stuck on blaming the “white man?”
Do you agree with the above study or do you think that being identified as “just human” is a better way to live life; in the hopes that such an identification will lessen the possibility of division?
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